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Investigation and litigation of Post-Conviction Actual Innocence Claims in Dallas County, Texas

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $300,000)

Goals: This organization is requesting assistance from the Upholding the Rule of Law and Preventing Wrongful Convictions Program to expand its Actual Innocence Exoneration Unit (AIEU) in reviewing, investigating and adjudicating individual claims of actual innocence. 

Strategies: Statistics demonstrate that adding an Intake Administrator will improve the efficiency, quality, and quantity of AIEU’s work on post-conviction claims of actual innocence. By increasing staff, the AIEU will be able to timely respond to all inquiries, fully investigate each case, more effectively represent our clients and, in some cases, identify the actual individual responsible for the crime. Additionally, such funding will allow for the increased utilization of forensic science testing and expert review and testimony, all of which are necessary components in the litigation of any actual innocence exoneration. 

Key Deliverables:
1.    Quantification of the number of cases reviewed and the outcome of each review, including the identification of the actual individual responsible for the crime. 
2.    100% response rate for all initial inquiries, which will result in a larger caseload. 
3.    Identification of and systematic review of areas of risk for wrongful conviction.
4.    Through investigation of complex cases that require expert assistance and forensic testing, resulting in increased exonerations. Potential areas of expert assistance will include fingerprints, ballistics and tool marks, bite mark evidence, shaken baby syndrome, eyewitness identification, false confessions and recantations, and polygraphs. 

Coordination Plan: Upon receipt of funding, the AIEU will post, interview and hire the Intake Administrator. Supervising Attorney coordinates the efforts of this individual as herein defined, assigning pending inquires as appropriate and prioritizing workloads. Additionally, the AIEU will continue to pursue approval of agreements with relevant forensic testing facilities to insure the best quality and cost-effectiveness for all necessary testing. The Supervising Attorney is responsible for reporting requirements.

Date Created: December 21, 2021